Garry Birtles is wrong to think Daryl Murphy can be a big player for Nottingham Forest


Nottingham Forest legend Garry Birtles has written in his Nottingham Post column that striker Daryl Murphy can be an important player for the club over the remainder of the season, but he has got it completely wrong.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Murphy has become more of a prominent feature in the starting XI following Aitor Karanka’s departure and Martin O’Neill’s arrival at The City Ground last month, starting four of the six Championship fixtures the Irishman has been in charge for to date.

Prior to that he had only made the XI on six occasions this term when the Spaniard was at the helm, and he started with fellow striker Lewis Grabban in the goalless draw against Preston North End at Deepdale last weekend.

Birtles obviously feels that the Republic of Ireland international has big role to play, writing in the Nottingham Post: “Daryl Murphy can sometimes get a bit of stick from some Nottingham Forest fans, but he has shown how important he can be.

“Daryl can be a great outlet for us. He can take the pressure off Lewis a little bit. We can direct the ball towards Daryl, and Lewis can play off him.

“Before, when we just had Lewis up front, the ball was coming back a little bit too often. He’s not the greatest in the air, but Daryl is.

“Daryl will win you plenty of headers and can hold the ball up. That can be a big help for Lewis.

“And having Daryl in the team can give an extra bit of height for set-pieces against us. It’s not always appreciated just how important strikers can be in that sense; in your own box.”

Birtles is wrong

While the 62-year-old is right in some aspects such as the centre-forward being useful in terms of holding the ball up and his presence in both penalty boxes because of his height, he is completely wrong in others.

Basically saying the 35-year-old should be starting alongside Grabban is living in the past and something of a throwback to yesteryear, and football has moved on from a 4-4-2 even if it is a formation O’Neill has sometimes opted for since his return to the club.

Check out Matchday With Max’s verdict on Preston 0-0 Forest in the video below…

Instead of making a veteran striker a key player in the coming weeks and months, they should be doing everything they can to find a role for record signing Joao Carvalho, who has barely featured under the experienced manager to date.

He is the future of Nottingham Forest, and O’Neill needs to adopt some modern-day tactics based around arguably their best player to get the team fighting at the top of the Championship – just look at Leeds United and Norwich City.